New Hampshire schools see increase in number of free, reduced-price meals

The percentage of overall eligible students in Grades 1 through 12 rose 45% in the past decade.

Dec. 9—The number of New Hampshire students in Grades 1 through 12 receiving free or reduced-price school lunches jumped 45 percent in the past decade even as the overall student enrollments declined, according to state figures.

Numbers showed 46,659 students were eligible as of October 2012, the latest figures available, compared with 32,133 in October 2002, according to a New Hampshire Sunday News review. Those numbers rose despite the state's enrollment dropping by 24,204, to 171,180, in 2012.

The percentage of the overall student population eligible for the subsidized lunches grew at an even higher rate, according to review of statistics on the state Department of Education website.